Saturday, July 06, 2013

To Cruise or Not to Cruise

I am really not a very decisive person. Ask my husband. Ask my friends. Ask the voice of waver and waffle that wakes me in the night and makes the butterflies in my stomach do the macarena. And in the last few years, there have been WAY too many of those little buggers for this decision-averse person.  Decisions of significance such as "Shall we stay or shall we go?" That one has been asked and answered more than a few times since the big one that brought us across the state from life as we knew it, and has led to other ones like..."keep the job that seemed like fit but after a year is clearly not, or take a chance on something that might be better?" Move house (again) as this town is so clearly not a fit and we seem to be always going somewhere else for pretty much everything of significance?" Yes, no, yes, no....decisions, decisions, decisions! We made them, well some of them, anyway, and they seem to be working out. We are settled in a new place, finding community at church and discovering places and things that "work" for fun and the practical stuff of daily life. The job stuff is still kind of hanging, but I am trying to be patient (which is right up there with "decisive" as "things Kate is not so good at") and see if I can find what is good there, at least for a time.

So, having said all that, I'm looking at my flyer and thinking about a BE. The deadline is approaching FAST. Who knows, maybe it's already too late. I haven't checked, perhaps it's full and this is a moot point. It's a funny thing, me and this cruise.  Ever since the first one, I have yet to sign on early in the game.  Sometimes it's been deliberate, as now, but mostly it's been due to life and its uncertainties making me unsure if I can go. This time, though, it seems to be simply about not being able to decide. The last cruise was hard for me in some ways. I did not enjoy the motion of the ocean! It was a little more than I was comfortable with, and the fact that our cabin window leaked some of those waves right in on my bed didn't ramp up my comfort level much. Not functioning as clergy in any significant fashion also had something to do with my feeling a little meh, too, I think. Being with people who were doing what I often long to, and am pretty sure for all sorts of complicated reasons, don't believe I will be, is hard and sad, and stirs up the grief that most of the time I keep neatly tucked away.

So I haven't sent in my form and my deposit. And I don't have a cabin mate. Some friends are already bunked in with other folks, some are not going this year. A new local clergy friend who is thinking about going would only want a single cabin. So I don't even have the "slumber party factor" as motivation at this point.

It feels sort of weird to be blogging this back-to-back with the "Galship" post about the amazing and wonderful connections of BE 1. But, as all experiences are, that was its own moment, never to come again. And to say I do or don't want to go on the next cruise has less to do with prior experiences than just where I am today in this place in my life personally and professionally. But tick, tick, tick. Must. Decide. And I HATE making decisions! 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Thoughts on Galship (on ship and off)

Once upon an April, long, long ago (or so it feels from five plus years and much life later), there was a boat, and on the boat there were some very special people. That is how a very important chapter in the story of my galship life begins.  I had come to blogging and RevGals by way of Celeste (at that time known to all only as C) who was one of my Soul Sisters and life savers in small town ministry. Ordained less than a year at the time, I was struggling to figure it all out, to balance my bivocational life as a priest and therapist in a small town. C suggested that this "blogring" she encountered might be something I'd enjoy.  The first time I read it, I have to admit being a bit scandalized. It was FoH weekend, and the remnant was going on during the Preacher Party about pedis and drinks from handsome hunks. I was still rather in the flush of righteous prigishness that seemed to accompany my ordination (gotten over it nicely, thanks), and I thought y'all were just a tad unseemly for clergy women). Fortunately I got over myself and stayed on! I blogged my three months and was so excited when I, too could qualify to belong to the ring!

I'd been part of RevGals for about a year when my relationship, which had been floundering for a long while began its final descent, and was doing so in the full view of our congregation and community.It was during one of those dark days when one morning, as I sat blogging at my desk before work, that  little sidebar caught my eye. I sighed. The BE 1. How lovely it would be to join them, I thought. To take a cruise with these lovely women whom I had come to know over the last year or so; who had already been so sweet and supportive, so wise and funny. But, no, I thought. It was happening practically tomorrow! It would cost too much. It was not practical, I did not deserve it, I did not have it arranged....blah, blah, blah.  But suddenly, some small voice in my head spoke out loud and clear and said, YOU NEED TO GO ON THIS TRIP! YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN! Huh? Wha? It was almost as if God had just interrupted the usual programming. And fo a change I listened up.  The next thing I knew I was e-mailing Martha, checking flights, talking to my boss (begging a bit) and  tentatively arranging for a sitter for Maggie - just in case it worked out. And as these things go sometimes, it did. Someone had just cancelled, there was a space at this last moment on the cruise, the flights were reasonable, the dog could be managed, and my lovely boss said, yes, she thought maybe I needed a break. So before I could change my mind, I was on my way to NOLA.

Then of course,I was fraught with anxiety! Would they like me? Could I STAND being out there in that vast ocean with water on all sides and below? Would I get seasick and disgrace myself? Could I manage sharing a room with a stranger? And most of all, could I be real....really, really, really real?  Tell the whole truth?  Tell my honest  story and find acceptance from these women? The answer to all of my anxious questions was yes! They did and I could and did! Not only acceptance but warmth and love. Resonance. They got it.  They got me. And responded with laughter. Tears. Hugs. A quiet conversation...."You know, I wanted to make sure to tell you...." "Kate, just so you know, you are not the only one who...." "Yes, there was a time when I, too...."

I came back to the stuff I left. It was still there, it was still hard. We ended the relationship. It was public. It was painful. And after that there was the potentially career-ending charge against my practice (spurious though it was) that put me through another year and a half of hell, known on the blog as the "falling shoes." And there was the grace and love and pain that was my ministry with L, now MIA from my life.  And of course there was the meeting and falling in love with my sweet Rick, shared with Revgals via blog, and by some, IRL on the Great Honeymoon Roadtrip meetup! More recently, though less blogged, have been the seemingly unending transitions of location and job, as well as adjusting to not being in a regular church ministry presently (or knowing if that is ever going to be part of my future).

And through all of it I was prayed for and supported, sent hugs and encouragement. The comments, e-mails, phone calls, texts, and now and then IRL meet-ups have been and continue to be such blessing in my life.

So that, in a nutshell is the Galship bond for me. People who have been there in the good times and bad times. A blessing and answer to prayer. People who make God and God's love real and tangible.